Behind the scenes lessons from “The Newborn King”

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In High School I was a theatre kid who got involved in every single performance my school could offer. We even did our own rendition of a few Lion King musical numbers – but none of the shows I have been in ever compared to the experience I had being part of our 2019 Christmas Musical, “The Newborn King.”

“Any final words, Scar?”

I never imagined we would ever do a musical like this at church. It started all with God’s inspiration given to Missionary Grace to do a Lion King musical centered around the Christmas message. It took several weeks until we were able to come up with a concrete idea for the drama and we had so many different ideas for how we wanted this storyline to go.

It was initially frustrating for me that there were no concrete ideas yet. But, I kept looking at Msn Grace, who was so calm, cool, and collected throughout all of this. Even though it was a bit of a hot mess, I could see how she felt confident that eventually it would all fall into place. Seeing her act this way inspired me to know and see God’s sovereignty. Through the development of this drama, I came to have a new attitude.

And indeed, it was really cool to see God inspiring the creative process for His glory. We were all asked to write a portion of the script, however only Sarah Baik was able to come up with the appropriate dialogue for the drama! She has a very disney light hearted spirit lol and so, most of the script could come through her.

Praise God, the true king!

While we had most of the script written out, what was missing was the main message. What IS the main message?” I thought.  It was like I had lost my Christmas star! But through being tasked to re-write the lyrics to “The Circle of Life” based on Matthew 2, I had a chance to recover the star in my heart once again. I read the Matthew 2 passage over and over again trying to meditate on its message. “This is the main message – Jesus is King. It is the most important part of the drama!” Msn Grace said to me. So I had to get it right!

Working on the lyrics took time and it was more than just trying to find words that rhymed with “King,” “Life,” or “Ingonyama Nengw’ enamabala.” I prayed, meditated, and even fasted that morning in the same way I would if I had to work on a message. Finally, God’s inspiration came to my heart. As I read through my bible study notes, I was reminded that Jesus was a King who rules my heart.

Worship Jesus

Before, what ruled my heart was fatalism, sin, and doubt. Under these rulers, I can see how pathetically I lived, with no freedom or peace whatsoever. Just like a slave. But now when Jesus rules my heart… it is so different. I am able to be the person I was created to be, and live the glorious life I was meant to live. (Just like Simba when he was restored to his position!) With this truth reigning in my heart, I can take hold of such a powerful life, shaking off my fears, insecurities, and whatever funk I was enslaved to. Praise God! Thus these lyrics were born:

He’s the king of your heart

He rules like a shepherd

Fills your life with peace

Bringing you great joy

So worship Him

Our true heart’s devotion

Worship Jesus

The king of your heart

Simba’s life is restored

                    Now, for some more exclusive bonus features of the entire production !


Psalm 37:4

There aren’t many female roles in this drama but if I was going to be part of it, my prayer was that I would be assigned to be Rafiki. I prayed for this for several days and then God granted my desire! Taahooo!

Sahara and Nala head masks

Sarah also eagerly wanted to be part of the drama. God granted her desire by inspiring Msn Grace to add another lioness to the mix. It was a perfect addition to have two lionesses. I can’t see the Lion King the same without BOTH Sahara and Nala anymore! Woohoo!


Col. 1:18

God also brought inspiration to Iliana to utilize HEADPIECES!!!! The dedication, time and hard work to make these headpieces really cannot be ignored – everything was hand made from scratch, minus the cut out template.

Sam gets into character – Lord Scar
Johnny and Darius practice their scene

Each mask took about a week or two to do – especially the lion masks with manes! This was way more than we could have ever imagined.

Msn John tries on Simba’s mask!
Completed masks

Here are some of the sisters who spent their time and dedication to create them: thank you so much especially to costume geniuses Iliana, Inez, and Kathryn, as well as Jacky, Sarah Lingberg, Aileen, Anita, Lizzy, Mary, and Bianca!

Sisters working hard on the first masks ft. the curious little Pringles!
Iliana and Kathryn adding a lion’s mane
Melissa painting the mask of her new lioness sister, Sahara!
Aileen creating that stunning Zazu mask

Iliana is also a master of coming up with last minute redemptive costume/prop changes whenever we have any costume mishaps. I’m always so amazed by what God delivers through her ideas.


Matt. 6:28

Scar’s backstabbing backfires

Boy did I worry about clothes – especially my costume. But God helped us find appropriate ones!

Timon and Pumba’s pot belly ft. skinny legs. Ivan and Herman got the more challenging costumes and it turned out great!

When I look at the cast pictures of us, I’m really amazed by the colors, patterns, and accessory details. It is so vibrant and lively. It tugs at your heart in awe or tickles you into laughter. God really knew what he was doing. 😂

God also blessed Melissa and Sarah to find perfect clothing for their lioness costumes at Goodwill.

Nala and Sahara

I ran into a little boutique and saw the shop keeper arranging this rugged, John the Baptist style, 2 piece set and white fur vest right on the spot!

I was so thankful that God helped me and provided a costume, being mindful of my insecurities, my limited time, and the vision I had.

Imanuel and Pedro, the “not-poodles”

It seems like He had fun in helping all of us with looking for clothes!


Matthew 18:10

Set designers Zoe and Michael directing Samuel and Ivan on how to cut out the set.

Bet you didn’t realize that CBF were part of the set designing team! Even little Hannah was so wholeheartedly painting. These precious little children stayed up very late way after Testimony sharing to help. They were all so focused on doing a good job that they kept wanting to take the best paintbrushes for themselves so that they could be more efficient.

“We’re painting the bark, brown…” (Sung in the tune of ‘Painting the Roses Red’)

As you can imagine, children, paint, and beautiful Holiday clothes are a messy combination and so I was concerned about that because I didn’t want to see their clothes or the sanctuary floor get covered in paint. However I see how beautiful and precious their single-hearted eagerness was… focused only on one mission: PAINT EVERYTHING GREEN & BROWN!!

Huge shout out to Wendy and Maryangeline for being such faithful tech servants, in both the practices and in real time. I have never witnessed such beautiful, dedicated stage/sound crew in all my life!

Thank God for this great blessing to be part of such a glorious and colorful drama, to reveal to us all how he is our True King who restores us inside and out. I can’t wait to see God’s continued inspiration in how to serve his kingdom work, and how he will reveal his glory to us in the year 2020.

Happy New Year my brothers and sisters!

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January 1, 2020 11:52 pm

Praise God!!! This drama was indeed blessed and inspired by God who gave us the ability to serve this drama for many. Playing Scar had it’s moments but I’m glad the character came out well. God helped me a lot. One shepherdess from downey said to me during dinner, “You guys can do this for the international conference.”

Surely everyone put in a lot of work from the singing, the dancing, the memorizing and costume design and so forth. I am glad God moved through Sarah Baik in creating a script and through Jean who gave us a touching song of Jesus. May God truly bless us in the year 2020 with more of his marvelous grace! 😁

Reply to  Jsheep
January 2, 2020 4:19 pm

In one practice Msn. Grace mentioned something similar about the Intl. Conference 😉

January 2, 2020 12:43 am

This was one of the most beautiful dramas I’ve seen in my life! *tears up* I was so touched and I can’t wait to see it uploaded online. Thank you so much for everyone’s hard work and efforts put into it. I really appreciate every last bit of hard work everyone put into it. Praise God and happy new year to all! ^^

January 2, 2020 1:43 pm

A few lines that touched my heart- “I was lost and fillled with darkness, it was really God who won the batttle, the battle to restore my life.”
Simba’s decisive decision- “I am going to go back and be a shepherd for my people.”
And the part where Simba saw Gods glory through the Bible Study, and then responded by singing and praising God. 👍🏾👑☝🏾

January 2, 2020 3:09 pm

Wow. I enjoyed reading this blog post as much as I did participating in and watching the drama. I feel like Mary in Luke 2, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Anyway, thank you for posting this. You thoroughly highlighted all the deep spiritual truth behind every aspect of the drama. It’s amazing to see God’s person in and through this drama from start to finish. One thing that deeply moved me about this entire process was the wholehearted team effort. I could really see that the glory of God is beautifully displayed when his servants work together in one heart and mind.

I look forward to the many dramas we can perform in heaven for our king Jesus!

January 2, 2020 4:11 pm

Happy New Year! Im thankful for this post to reflect on the experience. During the development stages I was also frustrated a few times at the many changes and lack of concrete story. But with Gods help and inspiration our chaos became beautiful cosmos! 🏞

Lion King was one of my childhood favorites but i NEVER imagined i would be in a LK production, let alone as Timon and dancing to hip hop Hakuna Matata. During Christmas I finally had a chance to watch the entire drama and think about its message for me. I was moved to tears how God brought me out of my own reckless trash-eating Hakuna Matata past into a wonderful life under his rule. Jesus is surely the king of my heart & “🎶my hearts true devotion🎶” how thrilling it is to count the stars and think about beautiful brilliant things to come in 2020 ✨

January 2, 2020 6:59 pm

Praise God for this most heart moving drama! Put me to tears and made this Christmas very special. Thank you for your time and efforts shepherds.

January 4, 2020 5:08 pm

I thank God for helping you write the lyrics to “King of My Heart”! I was especially touched by the lyrics and had the song stuck in my head through all the drama preparations. A good song to sing over and over 😀

Sarah L
Reply to  Nez
January 8, 2020 3:57 pm

I second that! I thought the lyrics were taken from somewhere, but Sarah told me You had created the words, I was shocked!

January 14, 2020 11:38 am

So blessed to have seen this drama and I know the kids were blessed to see it on Saturday. They were so amazed to see the story come to life, but also to learn new lyrics that are about Jesus the King of our Heart!!

Reply to  JessRock80
April 11, 2020 10:42 am

Praise God that your kids enjoyed the drama – I remember as a kid, I was definitely influenced by many songs and stories. What kinds of things do you try to keep your children engaged these days? I remember being glued to the screen when Veggie Tales was on screen haha. Also this water buffalo cartoon where two children got to learn good morals from his stories of the past

January 16, 2020 10:02 pm

The drama was phenomenal. Certainly, the drama felt like a broadway musical, and everyone’s costume was great–very festive indeed. I didn’t know that Jean came up with the song for her part to sing, which was very fitting for the drama. Great job everyone!!

April 11, 2020 9:02 am

Your singing that Jesus was the king of your heart sounded absolutely beautiful. I could really tell how good and pure your spirit was as you were pouring out in song. What you said about coming out of a funk. This Corona virus quarantine has really made me like Abram in his dark tent. But as I’ve been coming to God through reviewing my Genesis notes for bible study its been so restorative. Last nights testimony meeting left my spirit so abundantly full. Jesus is really good and what he does in us is so pure and lovely. He really is that good shepherd and wonderful king 🙂

Reply to  Robert
April 11, 2020 11:06 am

Amen, testimony sharing was really so beautiful. It’s so different, trying to fill up on mindless entertainment versus being spiritually fed. It’s also really nice to come back to this drama and hear the song again – “He’s the king of my heaaaaaaaaaart!”

April 11, 2020 10:15 pm

Surely this was most beautiful Lion on King Musical I have ever seen. Truly I felt so touched and inspired by God’s message in this musical. Thank God who allowed us to be part of his work.!!!!! Truly he is the one that helped us in finishing all the costumes. At one point I remembered feeling like ooooh man what did we get our self in too. Like many other times when I have just followed God’s direction he simply has provided the way for us.

Reply to  Jean
April 19, 2020 6:54 pm

Amen, I was really wonderful time to work on this together. Specially now that we are all apart I can cherish these times 🙂